"The main target of NExTEO is to offer another opportunity to travel from East to West of Paris. We aim for it to have the same travel time as the A line, but with even more trains than we currently have."
Ahead of SmartMetro Madrid, we sat down with Eric Quentin, Interface Manager & CBTC System Engineer NExTEO at SNCF, for a quick chat about his job and SNCF's latest CBTC endeavours.
Eric will be a speaker in SmartMetro Madrid on November 25-27th, where he will talk about managing interfaces deployment activities for CBTC integration in the French rail network, in a presentation relevant to industry experts and decision makers alike. Join us in Madrid for the full topic, and find out a bit more about him in this quickfire interview below.
First off, a bit of background: How did you started your current career path, what does your respective positions as Interface Coordinator / Director of the NExTEO project entail?
My first job in the railway industry, in 1999, was to provide safety analysis on Singapore North East Line (NEL) rolling stock as a consultant for Alstom. I have continued my career in the field of operational RAMS until 2014, when I shifted to CBTC for SNCF’s NExTEO project.
How has the rail industry changed since you started working in it?
In 30 years, there has been an incredible increase of digital systems in the railway industry. First GOA4 systems appeared, and now there is a project of autonomous trains in SNCF.
What industry challenges do you identify as the most pressing ones, and how is SNCF tackling them?
The main challenge that SNCF has to face is to provide a high performance, available mass transit.
What is the goal of the NExTEO project?
With the extension of the E line, the main target of NExTEO is to offer another opportunity to travel from East to West of Paris. We aim for it to have the same travel time as the A line, but with even more trains than we currently have.
What’s special about the interfaces of this project compared to others? Any pros and cons unique to it that are helping or obstructing progress?
NExTEO is the first CBTC project for the SNCF. In comparison with Paris' urban lines of the metro, the E line is integrated into a complex environment: line in commercial operation, open network with other lines, and combined communicating and non-communicating trains.
To complicate matters more, the project is constrained by others railway projects in Ile-de-France like the CDG Express, for instance, and the intense maintenance schedule. The number of interfaces is unbelievable.
What were the most noteworthy challenges you guys solved (or are in the process of solving)?
Our biggest current challenge is to create a new test area with a 2km-long track, in order to perform static and dynamic tests -- this reduces the number of tests on the actual line, and allows us to test the system before driving the stock in the actual commercial route.
What current and possible future trends in CBTC interest you the most?
The future possibility to provide smart train regulation in open networks.
What's the biggest professional challenge you've ever faced?
It was, without a doubt, to perform the ERTMS safety case of the Eastern European high-speed line and receive the authorization for commissioning it from the French National Safety Agency.
Are there any past projects in your life you're proud of? Are there any upcoming ones you're excited about?
I am very proud of the RATP MF2000 rolling stock project. I performed many RAMS analysis especially on the passenger’s doors, the braking system, and more. The upcoming project one will hopefully be NExTEO'x success!
Finally, a question we ask all our interviewees: what's your favourite rail journey in the world, and why?
The line from Saint Gervais-Les-Bains, in France, to Martigny in Swiss is a beautiful line across the Alps, near the Mont Blanc. There is no CBTC, but there is an amazing descent at 200° of inclination!
To meet Eric and many other wonderful speakers and decision makers, come and join us at SmartMetro Madrid on 25-27th October 2019!